RAWALPINDI: A girl has been found dead in her postgraduate college hostel room in Rawalpindi under mysterious circumstances with initial investigation failing to offer any clues as to what caused her death.
The incident, though, has attracted the attention of the provincial chief executive who has summoned a report on the matter while it sparked a protest from her fellow classmates and dorm residents.
According to the New Town Police, who have filed a first information report (FIR) for the incident under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), said that 20-year-old Urooj Fatima was enrolled in the third semester of the Bachelors of Study (BS) programme at the Postgraduate College for Women located on Sixth Road in the Satellite Town area of Rawalpindi.
New Town Police Station SHO Mirza Javed said that Fatima’s body was discovered on Friday morning with her friends and roommates claiming that she had died after being stung or bitten by a poisonous insect or animal overnight.
Javed added that her body was moved to the Holy Family Hospital (HFH) where a three-member team of lady doctors performed an autopsy.
The SHO further said that they have started investigations into the case to determine the cause of death.
After completing all medico-legal formalities, her body was handed over to her family who took her to their hometown in Fateh Jhang for burial.
Meanwhile, students of the college staged a protest demonstration against what they claimed was the lethargy of the college’s administration in calling the paramedics to treat Fatima.
“We repeatedly demanded that the [college] administration shift Fatima to the hospital but the staff remained unmoved,” the students lamented.
Aliya Sohail, the director of the college, refuted allegations of neglect as baseless.
“When we got word that Fatima had fainted, we immediately called Rescue 1122,” she said, adding that Fatima’s parents had disclosed that she had been suffering from a rare heart disease since her childhood but her treatment had been suspended for some months.
“There is no way that a lethal bite had caused her death” she claimed, adding that it would be speculation to say anything before the post-mortem report is available.
Her statement was corroborated by sources at HFH who had knowledge of the autopsy. They said that doctors did not find any signs of torture or insect bite on the girl’s body.
However, the hospital would send samples recovered from her stomach, blood and fingers to the Punjab Forensic Laboratory in Lahore for further tests.
This is not the first such incident in the college. Previously, a student was bitten by a snake while another student had been bitten by a wildcat.
CM seeks report
With news of the death spreading, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and the Punjab education minister and Punjab higher education secretary have taken notice of the incident. They directed inquiries in the matter and sought reports.
An initial investigation into Fatima’s death has failed to offer clues as to what caused her death.
The report, compiled by Colleges Director Jahanzeb, comprises statements from four students of the college, including her three roommates.
The students say that Fatima was up till late on Thursday night studying.
“We repeatedly asked her to go to sleep, but she kept saying that she would turn off the lights after completing her studies,” the report quoted Fatima’s fellow students.
The next morning, when the other students got up, they say Fatima lying with her mouth open, two wounds on leg littered with ants while her body was blue.
The students said they cleared the ants and dressed the wound. They also tried to get her to drink some water but she remained unmoved.
Earlier, some students had claimed that Fatima had been bitten by a poisonous animal while she was studying in the lawn after cooking some dinner.
Subsequently, the college has decided that all studies will remain suspended at the facility on Saturday and the college will reopen on Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2018.